Winners of the 2021 Richard H. Driehaus Building Arts Awards

For the fifth consecutive year, the Building Arts Awards, endowed with 40,000€, are awarded to four prominent construction masters. This initiative is the result of the passion for our architecture of US philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, who passed away recently. These awards seek to promote traditional crafts that use techniques respectful for the environment, promote local economy and preserve historic monuments and ensembles. Each winner will receive 10,000€ for their contribution to the continuity of these trades.

Traditional building works have been grouped for these awards into four categories, each one of them awarded an annual prize of €10,000 and a commemorative plaque. The winners in this edition for each of the four categories have been the following:

In the first category, masonry and stone work, the winner is Jordi Doménech, based in El Masnou, Barcelona, who has become one of the most prominent professionals in the preservation and promotion of the technique known as the Catalan vault. This type of lightweight low-cost construction makes it possible to cover large spaces with vaults of differing geometries. This technique also allows for the construction of magnificent staircases. His mastery in the trade led him to build vaults similar to those used by masters of Catalan modernism such as Antoni Gaudí, and to work internationally in countries like Japan.

The second winner is Majorcan Miquel Ramis Bordoy, one of the most outstanding carpenters specialized in the restoration and recovery of a great number of mills scattered through the island of Mallorca. His family business, Es Moliner, works on both wood and iron, repairing flour mills and water abstraction mills, which are the most common on the island. Some relevant examples are the mills at the S’Avall estate, the mill at the Control Center of the Palma Airport and the flour mills at the Sa Torre y Son Blanc estate, in Llubí.

The winner in the finishing and other construction works category is Cristina Thió. Born and based in Barcelona, she has contributed to the protection of Catalan heritage for the last thirty years, restoring and recovering all types of traditional coatings: tempera, stucco, sgraffito, wrapping, polychromies and fresco paintings, etc. Throughout her career, she has worked in modernist, baroque and medieval compositions in relevant Catalan buildings, such as the works of architects like Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Master blacksmith Santiago Martínez Otero is the winner in the metal and glasswork category. His workshop, Forxa Chago, is located in Santiago de Compostela, where he keeps alive the traditional techniques of the forging trade, now practically lost. His work was essential for the restoration of Santiago Cathedral, where he carried out works on the dome, the Puerta Santa, the facade of the Obradoiro, the Torre del Reloj (Clock Tower), the Botafumeiro and the crypt, etc. In addition, his contribution to the preservation of the historic center of Santiago and Galician monuments such as the Tuy Cathedral, the monastery of San Martín Pinario, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos and the collegiate church of Santa María del Sar are also noteworthy.

Additionally, and for the purposes of contributing to the continuity of traditional building trades, the jury selected Santiago Martínez to receive the Donald Gray Buildings Arts Scholarship, endowed with an additional 14,000 € for the training of an apprentice, who will receive a grant of 12,000€ over 12 months of training.

The jury, composed of representatives of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and the Ministry of Culture, INTBAU (International Network for Traditional Building Architecture and Urbanism), the Ekaba Foundation and the Rafael Manzano Prize, has valued the quality and respect for tradition shown by the work of the four winners.